Breaking news from the lake: Biller has the Internet.
It's easy to forget how foreign the concept of the Internet is to someone who has never been on it, who didn't grow up with it, and who had to receive written instructions for checking his answering machine.
We've been trying to get my Dad online for years - telling him about the amazing things he can see and do online, trying to explain to him that an Internet search can yield him answers to questions in seconds. This is a man who, when my sister and I would ask a question (it could be any question, like 'what kind of bird is that at the bird feeder?') would march us downstairs to the 'library', point to the collection of encyclopedias, and say 'find the answer.' So not easy to get him to wrap his head around a search that took seconds and provided thousands of answers.
This fall, all the stars aligned - my sister moved overseas, he had a second-hand laptop, and I think generally his curiosity finally got the best of him. We went into the store and set him up with the Internet. I've been trying to show him the ways of the web, and wanted everyone to share in the hilarity (I'm a little hesitant now that he can read this website, but I don't think he'll mind).
Here are a few 'Biller-isms' from early on in our online journey.
On signing up for the Internet:
Biller, to sales clerk: "So, what does this include?"
Sales clerk, slightly confused: "What do you mean?"
Biller: "Does it include Google? Does it include Facebook? Not that I want my own Facebook, I'm just going to go on my daughter's."
On money management:
Sales clerk: "You can set it up with your bank, or it can come automatically off your Visa."
Biller, super proud: "Don't have a credit card, never have, never will!"
Sales clerk: "Really?! Wow. That's really impressive!"
Other sales clerk, overhearing: "That's amazing! Good for you."
Biller looks at me, smiles and nods as if to say "told you so!"
On technological terms:
Me: "You only have a certain amount of gigabytes you can use each month. Things like watching movies and Skyping with Gigi take more gigabytes. But don't worry, you'll probably never go over."
Biller: "So if I leave the computer running but just close the top, am I using gigabytes?"
Me: "No, you're only using gigabytes if you're..."
Him, cutting me off: "Biting a gig. HA HA HA HA HA!"
On getting his contact info out there:
B: "Ok, so how are people going to know my number?"
Me: "Umm, what do you mean?"
B: "Like, people are going to want to text me now, right?"
Me: "Nope, you'll have an email address that you'll give to people. We can set that up after. So once people have your email address they can email you."
B: "Ok so how are people going to know my email address?"
On online shopping (without a credit card, mind you):
B: "So, I just want to make sure that I'm not going to do something wrong and break the computer."
Me: "You can't do anything wrong. The only way you can break the computer is if you take a hammer and smash it."
B: "I just don't want to click on something and order something accidentally."
Me: "Ok, so you don't have a credit card and as long as you never give out your personal information you'll be ok."
B: "Ok, I just don't want to order up a bunch of hookers or something."
B, browsing the internet, suddenly closes all windows and looks terrified: "Something happened."
B: "I don't know, something bad. Something really bad."
Me: "Ok, that's ok, it was just a pop-up." I notice he is shutting down the computer. "What are you doing?"
B: "I'm getting out of here!"
On email etiquette:
B, sending his first email to my husband, his son-in-law: "Can I write f&*k you?"
Me: "I mean, you can if you want...."
B: "They're not going to charge me or anything?"
Me: "Who? Who would charge you for swearing in an email?"
B, seemingly frustrated with my ridicule: "I DON'T KNOW! THE INTERNET POLICE?!"
These are just few of the comments I wrote down. And I only started writing things down near the end of the introductory weekend.
He's actually a pretty good student - except for the fact that he kept giggling every time I said the word "mouse" and the fact that all he wanted to do was look at moose videos on YouTube (ok, I'll admit I liked that part too).
Get ready world! Biller's on the net, biting gigs, not shopping online, potentially creeping my Facebook page, and sending offensive emails.